Airline passengers hit out at the “total chaos” at Heathrow on Thursday morning after the airport ordered flights to be cancelled because it could not handle them.
Thousands of travellers were disrupted by a rare “schedule intervention” which led to the scrapping of 30 flights during the morning peak. Some passengers did not find out their flights were cancelled until they arrived at what is the UK’s busiest airport.
A Heathrow spokesman said the airport “asked airlines to remove 30 flights from the morning peak” as it was expecting more passengers “than the airport currently has capacity to serve”.
He went on: “We will work with airlines to get affected passengers rebooked onto other flights outside of the peak so that as many as possible can get away, and we apologise for the impact this has on travel plans.
“We are working hard to ensure everyone has a smooth journey through Heathrow this summer, and the most important thing is to make sure that all service providers at the airport have enough resources to meet demand.”
British Airways said in a statement: “As a result of Heathrow’s requirement for all airlines to reduce their schedules, we’ve made a small number of cancellations.
“We’re in contact with affected customers to apologise, advise them of their consumer rights and offer them alternative options, including a refund or rebooking.”
Passengers using Heathrow in recent weeks have experienced long queues, and many have been separated from their luggage for several days.
There are fears that the severe disruption seen at UK airports in the run-up to Easter and the Jubilee bank holiday will return during the peak summer holiday period.